The horse was bitten on a lower part of its leg, apparently causing it to bleed out, sheriff’s office Sgt. Darrin Siemen said.
A 1,200 pound adult horse is dead, and the “large” animal that bit and killed it hasn’t been identified, causing the Sanilac County Sheriff’s Office to issue a warning Monday on Facebook.
The horse was fatally wounded at about noon Sunday at its pasture in a rural area about 80 miles northeast of metro Detroit.
An investigation did not find any clues to what really happened. There were no obstacles found in the pasture and apparently no tracks. It is speculated that the animal attack could have been from a coyote. How the attacker avoided injury by a hoof blow is a real mystery. Attacking equine lower legs is not a good predator strategy – their legs are serious weapons uses to capably defend itself. There was no mention of finding wire or other objects that might do serious tissue damage but an animal attack is not confirmed until more testing is done. It appeared to happen very quickly as the owners heard the horse make noise.
As in an earlier story today, the main route of public distribution for this story is Facebook allowing for rampant, ridiculous and unhelpful speculation as well as promoting fear.
The owner’s daughter, Natoshia Lunney, posted to the sheriff’s page saying that the horse, Bo, was not eaten. His leg was severed so their main concern was rushing him to an equine hospital for surgery. A state biologist will investigate. It is not suspected that a cougar was responsible since there are no known populations here. A large cat does not attack the feet. Unhelpful and insensitive jokers on the FB thread suggested Bigfoot, dogman, chupacabras or a “manbearpig” were responsible. This is why public FB turns into a public nuisance. But mystery mongering sites, like Mysterious Universe, suggest with some seriousness that it was a Bigfoot attack due to the prevalence of sightings in Michigan. I guess Bigfoot knocked it down and bit into the leg? Yep, a Bigfoot is too smart to be caught but will put its face next to a deadly weapon that can kick its face in. Sounds reasonable.
We will try to follow for updates.
Addition: One vet does say it looks like a dog or a fence was the cause. But many sites still are promoting the story as people should be aware of a “large” animal that could attack.
UPDATE (5-June 2015) A few clarifications – the horse was put down, it did not die of blood loss as suggested in the article. The injury was too extensive to repair. I have not found a source that said which leg (front or hind) that was bitten. I’m having a difficult time imagining a hind leg mauled by a dog without the dog ending up dead. It would be strange for a stray dog to attack a horse but we don’t have a video so we won’t know.